'I've got a bar in the Rambla del Raval and I want to give it to you.' There's half an orange soaked in flaming absinthe in front of me as Jordina explains how Mohamed offered her La Rouge back in 2007. Mohamed is the owner of the Pepe chain on Paral·lel, and Jordina is an architect from Lérida who's lived all around the world and who, before opening this spot in its current incarnation, ran Lempika and now Lupita. I have the La Rouge shot when the absinthe flame goes out; it's got absinthe, triple sec and brown sugar, delicious.
Why did Mohamed hand over the bar? He liked how Jordina ran Lempika and was just working too much. 'La Rouge is one of the truly cosmopolitan places in Barcelona,' says Jordina. 'This place creates new dynamics among all kinds of people from all parts of the world. You'll find squatters, students, musicians, late-night owls... It really is an eclectic meeting place.'
In the morning you might find customers working at their laptop, making use of the free WiFi, and on Sunday nights there are flamenco concerts and readings from books that have to do with the Raval neighbourhood. This is one of the great catalysts of the Raval.